Mark Leffingwell
Marina Goggin, freshman in creative writing, studies on the patio of Arnett Hall at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado January 19, 2012.

University of Colorado freshman Marina Goggin said books were the first thing she unpacked Sunday after moving into her new dorm room in Arnett Hall.

Goggin lived in Williams Village North, CU’s newest residence hall, during the fall semester but she petitioned the housing department to move due to noisy hallmates and allergy attacks from smoke.

“My face swelled up and I had to go to the doctor because of all the smoke in my hall,” Goggin said. “At that point I had enough and was ready to get out.”

Goggin is one of about 115 students who switched dorm rooms mid-year, said John Fox, associate director for residence life at CU.

“Students request a move for a lot of reason,” Fox said. “Most commonly, students become really good friends with someone they would rather live with or there’s someone they wanted to live with in the fall but were unable to do that.”

Other students request room changes to get away from their roommate or to change locations, Fox said.

CU freshman Zach Ardente said he is interested in moving from Williams Village closer to the main campus.

“I hate being all the way out here and having to ride the Buff Bus all the time,” Ardente said. “It would be nice to be on campus.”

Fox said they try to accommodate student requests as often as possible but they also don’t want every student changing rooms mid-year.

“If someone has a strong preference for someone they want to live with, we’re going to work with them,” Fox said. “We also don’t want folks moving all over the place, so usually we at least have a conversation with student to find out what’s happening in their current situation to ensure there’s not an easy fix.”

Goggin said after only five days in her new room, she is already confident that the honors dorm is a better fit for her.

“It’s so different here,” Goggin said.

“The conversations are more intelligent and it’s more about academics here,” she said. “Will Vill was a lot of partiers and that’s not me, I’m really focused on school and I feel like the students in Arnett are more like that too.”

While students change rooms, they are also changing roommates and learning to adapt their living situation to a new person.

Goggin said her roommate in Williams Village was very different from her and she felt uncomfortable in her own room there.

“I always felt like I was in her way,” Goggin said. “We just tried to stay out of each others hair, mainly.”

After a few brief conversations with her new roommate, including one about Sherlock Holmes — one of Goggin’s favorite topics — she said she is already feeling more comfortable with her new roommate.

Another 200 new students moved into the residence halls to begin classes this spring, filling empty beds or replacing students who left CU mid-year, Fox said.

CU freshman Madison Vincent attended her first college class Tuesday after graduating high school early.

Vincent moved into Williams Village North last week and said she’s nervous about entering the freshmen community a semester after her new classmates.

“Everyone’s already adjusted to school and has friends and I’m coming in without knowing anyone,” Vincent said.

Vincent said she’s worried that it will be difficult to acclimate to campus and make friends in her dorm since the other freshmen have already had a semester to get to know each other. Vincent said she has only known her roommate for a few days but she has already shown Vincent around campus and introduced her to some friends.

Fox said housing considers the same factors in the spring as the fall when pairing students with a roommate. However, with fewer beds available, he said compatibility is not always the first priority.

CU senior Alexandra Fouts lived in a quad room in Baker Hall, which housed four students during her freshman year. Living with three other roommates was difficult enough, but the real challenge started when one of her roommates left CU mid-year and a new student was placed in the room.

Fouts said adapting to someone new after boundaries had already been established was difficult.

“She didn’t see eye-to-eye with us on what was appropriate for our room,” Fouts said, “like with quiet time, when it was okay to have friends over, what was considered personal space or common space.  

“I really thought I was matched well with my first roommates. I felt like they just wanted to fill space in the dorms regardless of personality during the spring semester.”

Fouts said it was a long spring semester, but she learned a lot about communicating with her roommates and has a better relationship with her current roommate as a result.

“I learned that in order to have a great living situation, you really have to be clear on your expectations and what you’re going to hold your roommates accountable for,” Fouts said. “My roommate and I now are very open with each other and we aren’t afraid to speak our mind about something that’s upsetting us with our living situation.”

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